Crime

Six Charged With Kidnapping And Torturing Rochester Football Players

| by Nik Bonopartis
University of Rochester's Lattimore Hall.University of Rochester's Lattimore Hall.

Two University of Rochester students reportedly endured 40 hours of torture and sexual abuse before a police SWAT team swept in and rescued them on Dec. 5.

On Jan. 6, prosecutors unsealed indictments against the six people they say were responsible for the kidnapping and torture of the students, who are both football players at the school of 11,000 in upstate New York.

Ani Okeke Ewo and Nicholas Kollias were abducted two days earlier by the six suspects, who may have been helped by additional accomplices, the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reported. They were victims of mistaken identity -- the suspects allegedly kidnapped the students as retribution for a Nov. 28 drug deal gone wrong, in which some of the suspects were robbed.

Police sources told the Democrat and Chronicle that Isaiah E. Smith, a former Rochester football player, lured several marijuana dealers into an apartment and robbed them on Nov. 28.

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The apartment belonged to Ewo, who was out of town at the time and didn't know the robbery occurred, police said. Kollias simply had the misfortune of accompanying his friend Ewo when one of the female suspects allegedly lured the football player to hang out socially, according to police.

"Our kidnapped students appear to be the innocent victims of a horrendous crime," University of Rochester President Joel Seligman said.

The football players, who are both business majors, drove to meet the woman and her friends on Dec. 4, unknowingly delivering themselves into the hands of their kidnappers. Both men were beaten during the 40-hour torture session, and Kallias was shot in the leg by one of the suspects using a .22-caliber rifle, according to the Democrat and Chronicle.

Police have not discussed details of the alleged sexual torture, but several suspects were charged with felony predatory abuse.

Police arrested Dennis Perez, Lydell Strickland, David Alcaraz-Ubiles, Leah Gigliotti, Samantha Hughes and Inalia Rolldan. Each of them was charged with two counts of felony gang assault, except for Alcaraz-Ubiles and Rolldan. All six of the suspects were charged with felony firearms possession, while Perez and Strickland were charged with nine counts each of first-degree predatory sexual assault.

Sources: Rochester Democrat and Chronicle (2) / Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons